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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Why Not Seminole?

Letter published in Seminole Beacon, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012

Patricia Plantamura

I had a hard time believing that I was not the target of a joke when I received the call earlier this month inviting me to see President Obama at St. Petersburg College’s Seminole campus, only a few blocks from my home. People asked me, “Why Seminole?”

We do not need to ask “Why Seminole?” It is completely appropriate that this gathering was held on a college campus, as education and entrepreneurship are key to job creation and the continuing improvement of our economy. SPC Seminole has strong entrepreneurship, environmental, and high tech academic programs. Our college also employs Provost Jim Olliver who saw possibilities with this visit and followed through on a lead. Well done.

Why Seminole? Seminole is a great place to live, has outstanding schools, and proximity to awardwining beaches. Seminole is centrally located in one of the most populous counties in the swing state of Florida, so it makes sense for the nation to be looking here. Seminole deserves to be considered the face of Florida suburban life.

This presidential visit showcased our fine city. I would like to publicly thank every person who had some responsibility for this event. As with many campaign visits Seminole had very short notice. There were major tasks to perform to prepare the area for what turned out to be around 11,000 attendees – which included government VIPs. Maintenance and security preparations had to be coordinated with local, county, state and federal departments. Fire department staff, emergency medical crews and law enforcement did an excellent job. From the grounds keeping crew to campus administration, and from both city and college campus employees, to student and other volunteers, people showed a great spirit of teamwork and cooperation. Sincere appreciation to the many people who came together as community to pull this off.

Going forward, when people think of Florida and elections, we can be proud that the Seminole community has shown itself to be an exemplary venue for an event of national importance. We know that Charlotte and Tampa had months to prepare for their political events. In a matter of days – perhaps hours – the Seminole community seamlessly came together and presented our area admirably. This impression was made to the entire country and possibly to the world.

In light of the success of this community effort we should not be asking, “Why Seminole?”

Instead we should proudly ask “Why not Seminole?”